UN BALLO IN MASCHERA
Set in 1792 and based on the real-life assassination of King Gustav III at a masked ball, Un Ballo in Maschera contains some extraordinary music and dramatic scenes. Gustav (Riccardo in the Verdi) is an incredibly charismatic leader who refuses to see the gathering conspiracy around him, despite repeated warnings from his friends. Verdi adds an illicit love story between Gustav and Amelia, the wife of his best friend, accelerating Gustav's downfall. I became fascinated by the Swedish Gustavian style, with its whitewashed walls, unfinished pine floors and French Rococo influences. What If a gathering storm of conspiracy started infecting these pristine interiors? By the time we reach the ballroom in Act III, the storm has descended halfway into the room - behind the ring of clouds is only reflective black - the end of the line for Gustav and the end of the opera.